A Temecula, California, couple whose special needs son (along with 21 other students) was arrested in a massive drug sting at Chaperral High School have now, ABC News reports:
filed a claim against the Temecula Valley Unified School District for unspecified damages, alleging the district administrators did not protect their special-needs son but instead “participated with local authorities in an undercover drug sting that intentionally targeted and discriminated against their son.”
“It is shattering to our son. I don’t know how he will ever be able to trust friends again,” Doug Snodgrass, the father of the student, told ABCNews.com....
The young man was fresh to his new high school when:
“Our son was a new kid in August, and this undercover cop befriended him,” Snodgrass said. On the second day of school, Snodgrass said, Daniel asked the boy to buy drugs. “He asked my son if he could find marijuana for $20,” Snodgrass said. ”Three weeks later my son was able to bring back a half joint he received from a homeless guy.”....
It took the 17-year-old three weeks to procure a half joint of marijuana, according to court documents filed later in Riverside County juvenile court. After he was pressed again by the police officer, the student retrieved another joint for $20, from another homeless man, the documents said.
“During that time, he received more than 60 text messages from this undercover officer,” Snodgrass said. “Our son has a real problem reading social cues and social inferences because of his various disabilities. It would’ve been hard for him to figure to out that he was talking to an undercover officer.”
Snodgrass said his son had been diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and various anxiety disorders.
The bust was handled classily, to be sure:
“Our son went to school the morning of Dec. 11 and he didn’t show up at home after school, because he was arrested in his classroom,” Snodgrass said. “Police went into his classroom armed, and handcuffed our son. We were not notified by anyone, and he was held for two days, and we were not able to see him,” although he said they got his medication to him the first night he was in detention through a nurse....
In January, the juvenile court judge determined there were extenuating circumstances and ruled that Snodgrass’ son could do informal probation and 20 hours of community service, which would ultimately lead to a “no finding of guilt.” The court allowed the student to return to school in March, however, Snodgrass said the school has continued to “bully” his son.
According to the claim filed on April 26 against the school district, Snodgrass’ son was suspended for more than 10 days, forced to be educated at home and subjected to the threat of expulsion.
“Our son was cleared of the criminal charge, but the school continued to try and expel him,” Snodgrass said.....
“We have now filed a claim against the school district. Part of the complaint we filed on April 26 states that they [the school district] are trying to harass and intimidate our son. I will say the teachers and students have been very supportive, it is strictly the administration.”
Temecula Valley Unified School District released a statement to ABC News via its attorney, which begins: “The district continues to act lawfully and in furtherance of its mission to educate students and better prepare them for successful adulthood...."
The Snodgrass's have learned a valuable lesson indeed, Temecula Valley.